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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Lawmakers halt gun bills

news@dailylobo.com

The dueling gun control bills introduced this legislative session have officially been taken off the table, for now.

Last week, House Bill 77, which aimed to tighten restrictions on gun sales, was held up in the House Judiciary Committee by an 8-8 tie vote. HB 114, which aimed to make enforcement of federal gun laws in New Mexico a third-degree felony, was defeated by a 3-2 vote last week in the House Public Affairs Committee.

Both bills could be revived and resubmitted for voting if lawmakers could agree on amendments that would address both bills’ questionable provisions. For HB 77, this includes re-examining the strictness of required background checks. To bring back HB 114, lawmakers would have to iron out the constitutional conflicts the bill creates between federal and state government.

Friday also saw debate intensify on UNM-related bills in the House Education Committee. The committee released fiscal impact reports and Legislative Education Study Committee analyses for six bills covering topics such as expanding UNM’s dental sciences program and creating an initiative to jumpstart spaceflight technology and business development at UNM.

On Monday, five of these six bills passed through the House Education Committee, and are headed to the next round of House committee voting, hearing dates to be determined. HB 320, “UNM We the People Program,” was not put to a vote at that time. Rep. Rick Miera (D-Albuquerque) sponsored the bill, which seeks $15,000 for the continued operation of the “We the People, the Citizen and the Constitution” program at the University.